You can choose one or more given names for your child, as well as a single or compound surname. A child’s surname must be composed of the surname of one of his or her parents or a combination of the surnames of both parents.
Under the Civil Code of Québec , parents choose the surname and given names of their children. Generally, the parents provide the surname and given names to the Directeur de l’état civil by completing the Declaration of Birth form.
A child may receive one or more given names, as well as the surname of one parent or a compound name of not more than two parts of the parents’ names. It can happen that the surname is not common to all members of the same family, as the children may have different surnames.
For example, Geneviève BARIL (the mother) and Raoul DESBIENS (the father) chose to give the following surnames to their children:
It is advisable to be familiar with the procedures for assigning surnames and given names before the birth or adoption of a child.
Odd compound surname or given name If parents choose an odd compound surname or given name that clearly invites ridicule or may discredit the child, the Directeur de l'état civil may suggest that the parents change their choice of name.
If the parents do not accept the suggestions made by the Directeur, the act of birth is drawn up with the surname and given names chosen by the parents, and the Attorney General of Québec is notified. The latter may bring the matter before the court within 90 days of registration of the act, requesting that the surname chosen by the parents be replaced by the surname of one of the parents, or that the given names chosen by the parents be replaced by two given names in common use, depending on the situation.
Until the time period for bringing the matter before the court expires or, if proceedings are brought, until the judgment is handed down, the registrar of civil status indicates in a notation on every copy, certificate and attestation issued on the basis of the act of birth that the Attorney General has been notified of the matter.
Clientele The parents of a newborn or a newly adopted child.
Conditions related to given names It is recommended that the number of given names be limited to four.
Two given names may be joined by a hyphen to make a compound given name, for example Simon-Carl or Marie-Soleil, according to the parents’ choice.
The usual given name chosen for the child must be entered in the appropriate place on the Declaration of Birth form. The other given names, including those to be assigned during any religious ceremony, must also be entered in the appropriate place on the form.
Conditions related to surnames The surname cannot contain a number or an initial.
The given name of one of the parents cannot be assigned as a surname for the child. The child’s surname must be the father’s or mother’s surname, or a combination of both. Consequently, the child may have either a single or a compound surname.
The other parent’s surname, the one not used, may be chosen as one of the child’s given names, if the parents so wish, but will never be considered as the child’s surname. So, a child whose mother’s name is Odette BRIAN and whose father’s name is Jacques DORION may have the given names Maxime, Brian and Jacques, and the surname Dorion.
Single surname A single surname may be either the father’s surname or the mother’s. For example, if the father’s surname is DUBEAU and the mother’s is SIMARD, the child may have one of the following two single surnames:
A single surname may be chosen from the compound surname of the father or mother. For example, if the father’s surname is BRUNEAU-ASSELIN and the mother’s surname is LEBLANC, the child may have one of the following three single surnames:
When both parents have a compound surname, it is possible to give the child a single surname using only one part of these names. For example, if the father’s surname is RACICOT-BÉDARD and the mother’s surname is LAFLEUR-DUBUC, the child may have one of the four following single surnames:
Compound surname A compound surname can have only two parts and, once it is chosen, the order of the parts cannot be changed.
When both parents have a single surname, a compound surname is made up of the father’s surname and the mother’s, preferably joined by a hyphen. For example, if the father’s surname is DUBEAU and the mother’s is SIMARD, the child may have one of the following two compound surnames:
When both parents have a compound surname, such as TREMBLAY-BONNEAU for the father and SÉGUIN-BOUCHARD for the mother, they must make a choice, because the child’s surname can be made up of only two parts, for example:
Conditions related to given names and surnames in foreign languages When a surname or given name has characters or diacritical marks (e.g., accent, cedilla) or a combination of a character and diacritical mark that are not used in written French or English, the name will be transcribed into French or English, as the parents choose.
The original spelling is respected, subject to modifications that may be required by transcription. For example, TOMAS with an acute accent on the «a», INES with a tilde on the «n» or a circumflex accent on the «e», and VÉCÈS with the diacritical mark «v» on the «c» will become: